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Professor Anil Kalhan Explains Immigration Detention Ruling on Public Radio International

Professor Anil Kalhan

March 02, 2018

More immigrants stand to face lengthy detentions if a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling becomes the final word, Professor Anil Kalhan said in an interview March 1 on Public Radio International’s The Takeaway.

On Feb. 27, a 5-3 majority overturned a 2015 decision by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that required the government to justify its denial of bond and consider alternatives to detention for immigrants.

“The Supreme Court concluded that that interpretation was not supported by the text of the statute,” Kalhan said. “Justice Alito did not resolve the constitutional questions, so the lower court will have a chance to decide whether there is a constitutional problem directly.”

While early reporting suggested that the ruling could affect all non-citizens, Kalhan pointed out that the opinion affects certain categories of people: non-citizens who are just arriving in the U.S., those who have criminal convictions and people who have been in detention for extended periods of time.

In the meantime, Kalhan said, the Trump Administration’s desire to increase deportations and expand the use of detention will likely extend the length of detention.  

“Likely, we’ll see a growing number of people subjected to detention for longer periods of time, really without regard to whether they need to be detained,” Kalhan said. “It doesn’t make sense for the government to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to detain somebody who is not flight risk or a danger to public safety.”

An authority on immigration law, Kalhan is chair of the New York City Bar Association's International Human Rights Committee.